This morning was one of those mornings. Seth’s alarm clock went off but was mysteriously silent (and by mysteriously, I mean I’m assuming he silenced it and doesn’t remember), my phone was dead (offuckingcourse), my kids strangely slept like angels for much longer than usual and the sun was just soft enough not to wake any of us. So, yes, it was one of THOSE mornings – at first they’re the best until suddenly, like a match to a flame, they’re an absolute nightmare. Because you know what sleeping in means? Routine -> out the window. And that means you’re fucked.

Usually, Seth takes the kids to school between 7:00 – 7:15. Alarms go off at 6:00 and 6:30. I feed Abbott and get the boys around, Seth showers and washes bottles, we pack Abbott up into his carseat, put Matty’s shoes on and they’re out of the door. We could probably do it blindfolded. In our routine, the boys get to school early – Matty is there with plenty of time to socialize and regulate his mood before breakfast and Abbott is there early to get some extra cuddles and be the perfect child he is.

Kids LOVE routine. They eat it up – they thrive on it. Their little clocks are run and maintained by it. Mess up a kid’s routine and prepare to suffer. And that’s just what I did.

Out of our routine, I’m left to get the boys around and to school by myself. I don’t get my workout in – I’m lucky to get a proper shower in, and we’re always rushing to get out of the door to try to get Matty to school with enough time to get at least a smidgen of breakfast. This morning was particularly bad. Matty woke up with some weird shit in his eye which I’m sure is just because he has a cold and refuses to blow his nose and sucking his nose is a two person job (if you’re unfamiliar with the Nose Frida – Google it, it will change your life), so every free second I had was spent chasing Matty around trying to get the eye crust out of his eyelashes which led to tears and screaming every. single. time. Matty was also super ornery this morning – I think I walked in/turned around to see him nearly inadvertently ending Abbott’s life more than a handful of times – sitting on him, “tickling” him (aka stabbing him with his toddler hands), laying on his head, bouncing on him, “singing” to him (aka suffocating Abbott with his giant head). Thank heavens babies are durable creatures.

Before I knew it, we were late. It was 8:30. Breakfast begins at 8:30. I threw on my sneakers to complete my super stylish black t-shirt, jeans and unwashed hair look (I know, I know – I’m so cool), threw Matty’s shoes on and we were out of the door. By the time we got to the car, after listening to Matty say “I’ll carry ya?” (AKA carry me?) at least 70 times, we were super late. I was already dreading walking into the breakfast room and dealing with the annoyed teachers’ faces because I just had to be that mom today. And of course, when we get there that’s exactly what happens and, turns out, we’re so late Matty can only eat breakfast if I sit with him. So, feeling terrible, sweatstache in full force, I put Abbott and his car seat down on the knee-height table and pull up a seat. This is easily the worst out-of-routine morning ever. There was one piece of toast left and when Matty asked for more I had to try to explain there wasn’t any more because his parents were losers, but luckily Mr. Dave, the nice school chef, had given him enough fruit and yogurt to last for breakfast and lunch so I hurriedly encouraged him to eat more of that. Then, as I sat there quietly beating myself up, wishing I could see the clock, trying to patiently wait for Matty to finish eating and tickling Abbott to keep him preoccupied, I caught an older woman washing dishes in the kitchen looking at us.

“Is that the baby talking?!”

I laughed and nodded, she put down her dishes and walked around the corner.

“Matty is that your brother talking to you?”

She bent over and patted him on the head, Matty hammed it up – smiling like the precious angel he usually is for everyone other than me and Seth. I was surprised she knew his name but Matty seemed fond of her (probably because he relates her to his meals and if he’s serious about anything it’s his meals – like mother, like son – what can I say?). Then she asked me what Abbot’s name was, I told her and she repeated it. She stared at him and whispered to him and smiled at him. Abbott smiled back time and time again to the point that even my heart melted a little bit. She talked about how cute they were and how they had the same eyes. I said thank you and thought to myself Omg. I’m going to be at least 20 minutes late to the office at this point. Abbott smiled at her and then Matty did the same.

The woman then looked at me with the warmest smile and said, Happy boys. That’s a sign of a good mama.” And with a wink she turned and slowly made her way back to the kitchen.

Sometimes you just don’t know what you need to hear until you hear it.

In that moment, I needed that reminder – not just to remind myself that everything was fine, that we were just a little late to school but to remind me that the office can wait, that the running car in the parking lot and the phone sitting in the console could wait, that everything that mattered was within my reach and their smiles were the most important.

So, today, God bless the sweethearts.